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Theme Notes:

Theme = topic + comment on topic

A theme is a message or universal concept about life or human nature that is developed in a story. In most
stories, the theme is not stated directly, but must be inferred by readers. Also, a theme is not a topic/one word,
it is a sentence or comment about a topic. Also, you don’t have to agree with the theme to identify it.
Examples:
Money can’t buy happiness.
Friends can be the key to survival

Strategy: Some helping questions:


In order to infer and understand the themes in a ● What do characters learn
story, look at these places for clues: about themselves?
● Examine the title ● What do characters learn
● Examine the setting
about life?
● Examine the characters
● Examine the conflict
● What do characters learn
● Examine the resolution about how humans behave?
● Examine how/why characters change
● Look for contradictions/surprising actions
● What do you think the
● Look for Aha Moments
● In a picture book, examine the visual clues author wants you to
and patterns in illustrations and color understand or learn?
choices.

Also look at how/if an author draws your


attention to something in a story using
other literary elements like figurative
language and sensory details to look for
clues to support your theme.

Step One: As a group, compile information from your notes and what
you noticed into this chart
Picture Book Analysis Notes

What do we notice about He used colors to represent emotions of


how the author used the the characters.
visuals, color, and
illustrations?
What do we notice about The author demonstrated literary
how the author used devices when he represented the
author’s craft classmates as birds. There is also many
choices/literary devices? more.

What do we notice about They work together because they both


how the author used show how characters act and feel.
literary elements and
how they work together?
What would you have They could have added a grayish
done differently to blueish undertone to the sad pages, to
enhance the book’s enhance emotion/sadness.
message? What kinds of
choices would
Use the following boxes and questions to help you to
develop your analysis!

Step Two: As a group, pick one of the elements/boxes to


complete (the grey 1-5 whole graph)

1
Examine the Title: Analyze the significance of the title. (Describe what is significant
about the title)
Identify the specific device/element (Describe or paste in exact example here):
Why is the device important in the text?

What is the writer’s purpose for using the device/element? (What do they want the
reader to understand?)

How does the device impact or show the overall theme or universal message of the
text?

2
Examine the Setting: Analyze the significance of the setting. (Describe what is
significant about the time,place, and culture)
Identify the specific device/element (Describe or paste in exact example here):

Why is the device important in the text?

What is the writer’s purpose for using the device/element? (What do they want the
reader to understand?)

How does the device impact or show the overall theme or universal message of the
text?

3
Examine the Characters: Analyze the significance of how the characters act and
react to change, challenges, and conflict.
*This might include contradictions or Aha moments.
Identify the specific device/element (Describe or paste in exact example here):

Why is the device important in the text?

What is the writer’s purpose for using the device/element? (What do they want the
reader to understand?)

How does the device impact or show the overall theme or universal message of the
text?

4
Examine the Conflict: Analyze the significance of the conflict (types: char vs. char,
char. Vs. society etc, rising action, climax, resolution etc) in the overall story.
*This might include contradictions or Aha moments.
Identify the specific device/element (Describe or paste in exact example here):
The main conflict is Char. vs. society. The Main conflict is about all these kids with
different ethical backgrounds, and in the beginning the other children are ignorant
to their ways. At the end they begin to learn more about differences, and they then
accept their differences.
Why is the device important in the text?
Conflict is important in this text because it shows a problem that occurs and that
has to be solved. The problem in this text is that the three kids (they are all from
different ethical backgrounds) are not accepted at first and then in the end they
make friends and are accepted

What is the writer’s purpose for using the device/element? (What do they want
the reader to understand?) they want the reader to understand how Angelina is
feeling moving from her homeland to somewhere new and to really express her
emotions.

How does the device impact or show the overall theme or universal message of the
text? It shows that people from other places are treated poorly.

5
Examine the Figurative Language: Analyze the significance of the figurative
language in the story. (Give thorough explanations of examples of figurative
language and their significance in the story and the author’s purpose for using
them)
Identify the specific device/element (Describe or paste in exact example here):

Why is the device important in the text?


What is the writer’s purpose for using the device/element? (What do they want the
reader to understand?)

How does the device impact or show the overall theme or universal message of the
text?

Step Three:
Using what you noticed about the (1)visuals, (2)author’s craft
choices and use of (3) literary elements above, develop a
claim statement/thesis statement to reply to the following
prompt.

How does the author and illustrator develop the theme


throughout the picture book The Day You Begin?

Sentence Starter:

The author Jacqueline Woodson and illustrator Rafael


Lopez develop the theme of (topic + comment ) throughout
the picture book The Day You Begin by (which
observations/information you’re going to use to prove it/show
it).

Topic (one word/idea) Comment about Topic


difference We choose this word because
this book is about childeren and
accepting differences.
Complete Theme Statement:
Being different is okay.

Everybody is different and should be accepted.